Driven: Citroen DS3 Racing Review

DRIVEN: Citroen DS3 Racing Review

Following a week long test drive with the Citroen DS3 Racing here is my review on the super-hot hatch.

What’s the Citroen DS3 Racing all about?

The Citroen DS3 Racing is currently the most exciting hot hatch that Citroen have on the market. The DS3 racing is the upgraded version of the already brilliant Citroen DS3 DSport. The Racing model has a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that creates 207bhp and 275Nm of torque. The power is put to the front wheels by a six speed manual gearbox. Together they get the DS3R from 0 to 60mph in 6.5 seconds and will do a top speed of 145mph. These are some great performance figures.

Citroen DS3 Racing Review

Citroen DS3 Racing (8)

Citroen DS3 Racing (5)

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When it comes to exterior styling changes, Citroen has taken a no holds barred approach. Some may even consider it to be a slightly bonkers design, but I like it. The model on test features matt black paintwork, black wing mirrors, black grill, and real carbon fibre splitters that cover the entire circumference of the car. I don’t think exterior car styling comes any bolder looking than this super-hot Citroen.

How does it drive?

The Citroen DS3 DSport was a great drive anyway, and the Racing model has only improved on that. Straight away the first thing that you will notice here is how the DS3R has a much harder ride than the DS3 DSport. But you need to remember that this is supposed to be a raw sport driving experience. The hard ride certainly improves handling characteristics and gives you a race car feel that you will appreciate.

Citroen DS3 Racing (88)

The engine has been tweaked to produce 207bhp, a significant amount of power for a car of this size. When you have the opportunity and put your foot down in this car it really shifts, but also because of the clever damping in the suspension the DS3R also has a significant amount of grip and moves along with little drama. This does takeaway slightly from the reckless adrenaline rush that some people may be after, but it will seriously improve lap times on the track.

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The DS3 Racing uses an electronic based steering system, it works really well and provides more than enough feedback to take the car to the limit and still have an understanding of where the grip is. Cornering at any speed this car is enjoyable; it certainly has that go cart effect that we all love in any kind of hot hatch. The braking setup in the car is also tuned up, the DS3 Racing features four pot brake callipers at the front that really help put the anchors on when you need to.

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I really enjoyed driving the Citroen DS3 Racing. The car has plenty of power and you can enjoy working through the gears if you want, but the car will still do 70mph in second gear. To add to the experience the exhaust system on this little 1.6-litre engine provides a very nice grumble sound on the outside of the car, putting the icing on the top of this super sporty car package.

What’s it like inside?

Getting inside the DS3 Racing, you are instantly aware that you have just got into something special. The racing seats are a great design feature of the interior and also very tightly hug you into the centre of the chair. The interior of the car, as with any DS3, is a great design and really feels like a premium car.

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Citroen fit a large media screen in the centre of the dashboard that is controlled by the buttons below the screen. My favourite feature of the interior is the well-designed carbon fibre effect dashboard trim that covers the central console.

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The interior can be customised as you feel necessary, the model on test had a red stripe down the one side of the dash that matched the stripe on the exterior, but the options are endless. I don’t think you can find a better designed interior in this class.

The Experience

The car on test is number 13 of 100 cars that are to be released in the UK. Meaning that there is a very small number of these high performing and very unique cars on the roads in the UK. I’m sure you could drive for months without seeing another DS3R around. People are interested in the car, and can tell that it’s a special model from its insane exterior design.

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It’s also fair to say that they’re not for everyone, they are aimed for people that love Citroen’s and want to drive a great hardcore hatchback. And this is exactly what Citroen have supplied. From a driver’s perspective, you’re more than aware it’s special from simply how it makes you feel. The car is loads of fun on the road and you can enjoy it without breaking any speed limits, and if you are given the opportunity to take it on the track there is no doubt that it will keep up with other cars in its class.

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I’m very happy to see that Citroen have identified the need for a hardcore hatch back, and I can honestly say that with the DS3 Racing they have provided a fantastic package that will be enjoyed by the thrill seeking owners and also be looked back on and compared against for future hot hatches.

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Video Highlights


Citroen DS3 Racing
  • Price: £29,310
  • Engine: 1.6-Litre turbocharged
  • Power: 207bhp
  • Torque: 275Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 6.5 Seconds
  • Top speed: 145mph
  • Weight: 1,231kg
  • Economy combined: 44mpg
  • CO2: 149 g/km

Full Gallery7 Day Diary

Author: Paul Hadley